Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Tagged: 50th anniversary

Our global network: the view from New York

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📥  Celebrating successes, Internationalisation

Affirming our international influence through worldwide partnerships and extending our research power are two key strands of our 2016-2021 strategy.

These cannot be achieved solely from our campus here in Bath. A key part of my role as Vice-Chancellor involves working with our faculty and alumni team to forge new collaborations and seek fresh opportunities.

Last week in New York was an important chance to celebrate the close of our 50th anniversary with supporters and alumni who play a crucial role in supporting scholarships and funding our research. You can read more about this event here.

Whilst in the city, we had the chance to meet with the President of New York University (NYU), Professor Andrew Hamilton whom colleagues here may recall was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. NYU has a campus in London and operates globally and we had a good conversation about areas of potential inter-institutional co-operation.

Equally key were the meetings with influential academics, including the Dean of Science at New York University, Professor Michael D. Purugganan, who spent time with us last year as a Global Chair at the Milner Centre. Our Global Chairs visiting professorship scheme attracts distinguished, globally renowned scholars to engage in a programme of high-profile research activity at our University. This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to reflect on how we enhance this network and continue to foster close relationships with these academics even after their term with us is over.

Professor David Coley’s important research into developing better shelters for refugees was at the heart of our visit to the United States. We met with David Miliband who is now President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and engaged in fruitful conversations with his team about how to expand this work in refugee camps beyond Jordan. We also had an excellent meeting with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations in New York, Dr. Sima Sami Bahous. We were able to discuss the practical applications of David’s work helping to improve the living conditions of people living in extreme climates both for refugees and also for host communities in the Middle East.

Our schedule on this short trip allowed a meeting of the Foundation Board, our US charity, which made some important decisions about supporting sports scholarships for US students, further supporting the Global Chairs visiting professorship scheme and also creating a joint grant with Marshall Scholarships to attract the best and brightest minds to Bath.

For the next few weeks, my focus is closer to home, welcoming new and returning students back to campus. However, this trip will stay in my mind as a testament to the strength of our alumni network and the importance of looking further to forge new and fruitful partnerships across the globe.


VC Message: A heartfelt thank you on our 50th anniversary


📥  Messages

After weeks of busy preparation, we can now celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University receiving its Royal Charter.

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to our whole community of staff, students and alumni; it is your creativity, innovation, tenacity and enterprising spirit that has led to our success.

A host of people helped to organise events at the Abbey and the wonderful food, activities and entertainment for Party on the Parade; my thanks to them all.

As a small marker of this milestone in our history and in recognition of all your contributions, the University will close early for Christmas this year. Friday 23 December will be an extra day of leave. Colleagues who operate essential services will be given further details shortly.

Anniversaries are about looking forward as well as celebrating success. Together, we will not only look further but also go further than others have gone before.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis M. Breakwell
President & Vice-Chancellor


New Year message from the Vice-Chancellor

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📥  Messages

To all my colleagues across the entire University,

As we start 2016, I wanted both to express my appreciation for all you have done to make the last year such a success and to look ahead to this year in which we celebrate our 50th anniversary.

Our University was founded by Royal Charter in October 1966 ‘to advance learning and knowledge by teaching and research, particularly in science and technology, and in close association with industry and commerce.’

Since then our success has helped to shape the success of the city of Bath and its surrounding area. Directly or indirectly the University is now estimated to support over 5,500 jobs in and around Bath. Within the Bath and North East Somerset area alone, our net economic contribution is over £300 million each year.

With our Sports Training Village and the opening of The Edge we make a significant impact on sporting and cultural life.

For the past three years we have been investing over £1,000,000 per week in improving our University infrastructure and we are committed to continue at that level for the next four years.

In the next few months, we will see the opening of new buildings: 10 West (which will be the home of the Department of Psychology, the Institute for Policy Research, and the Research Commons for graduate students) and 4 East South (for the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering and Computing Services).  In addition, we will finally take complete possession of the building, previously known as the Police Station, in Manvers Street in the centre of Bath and we will re-front and refurbish it to provide a state-of-the-art centre for student study.

None of this would be possible without you. It is gratifying to see how our excellence in research, teaching and the wider student experience is being increasingly recognised not only nationally but internationally:

According to the QS international ranking, we are the highest placed University of our age in Europe and seventh in the world.

Bath alumnus Dr Jonathan Milner’s confidence in the quality and ambition of our research inspired him to give us £5 million to create a new Centre in Evolutionary Biology.

Our Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation will help us shape thinking around the enormous potential of advanced data analytics to drive innovation and change.

We have recently announced a ground-breaking partnership for the School of Management with the Government of South Africa to provide doctoral level leadership training to senior South African Higher Education professionals at all 26 of their public universities.

Three of our colleagues have been funded as Future Research Leaders in social sciences by the Economic & Social Research Council.

Our Setsquared business incubation activities have been ranked number one in the world.

These are just a few examples of what made 2015 such a momentous year for our University community.

But this is no time to rest on our laurels.  The world of higher education is changing continuously. We must be ready to address the challenges and opportunities ahead with increasing ingenuity and agility.

Both the Senate and Council of the University have agreed that this is the right time to take our University forward towards our new strategic goal of being an international leader in graduate education and to provide the resources needed to grow the volume of research we conduct. We will be recruiting more researchers and investing to create a more vibrant environment for capturing the minds and money that make discovery and impact possible.  We will be ensuring that the professional and support services are developed in step with these changes.

We will be shifting the balance of our student population towards postgraduates whilst at the same time stabilising the number of undergraduates we recruit. As we take the steps needed to provide excellence in all aspects of our doctoral training and masters programmes we must also focus on enhancing the quality of the academic and extracurricular experience our undergraduates have here.

We must continue to improve our infrastructure - here and off-campus. This will allow us to provide the sort of facilities graduate students need while never losing sight of the requirements of undergraduates and our broader community of staff.

We must further strengthen our international profile. By establishing innovative joint teaching and research programmes with universities outside of the UK we will succeed in recruiting more of the most able international students and secure the collaborations needed to enhance the global impact of our research.

Our 50th year will be both a year of celebration and the year in which we lay the foundations of our future success.  As I look forward to working with you to realise this ambition, I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your contribution to what our University has already achieved.  Without your commitment and talent we would not have come so far and would not be ready now to go so very much further.

I wish that 2016 is a vintage year for all of us.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Dame Glynis Breakwell


January 2016